Advisory Council


ambroseShelley Ambrose, BA'83, is the former Executive Director and Publisher of The Walrus. Prior to that, Ambrose worked as a public affairs officer at the Canadian Consulate in New York, as a television and radio producer - including CBC Radio's Morningside with Peter Gzowski, as a newspaper reporter, and major event producer, including the Queen's Golden Jubilee visit to Canada. From Calgary with roots in Southern Ontario, Ambrose lives in Toronto and sits on many not-for-profit boards including Lapham's Quarterly, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Arctic Rose Foundation, Library and Archives Canada, and Hope Towns Ventures. She is the Chair of the Advisory Council for New Canadian Media and Chair of the national Library and Archives Scholar Awards committee. 


baileyCameron Bailey, BA'87, is the Artistic Director, and co-head of the Toronto International Film Festival®. Since 2008 he has been responsible for the overall vision and execution of the Festival's selection. Bailey began programming for Toronto in 1990 and worked both as a film programmer and film critic for 20 years before taking on his current role. Bailey wrote about cinema for Toronto's weekly NOW Magazine from 1988-2007, and was a long-time critic for CBC Radio and CTV's national morning television program, Canada AM. 

From 1998-2002 Bailey also co-hosted the international film program across Canada on the Showcase Review. As a programmer and curator he has organized film series for the National Gallery of Canada, Cinematheque Ontario and Australia's Sydney International Film Festival. He has served on many film festival juries around the world, including most recently at the Beijing International Film Festival and South Korea's Busan Film Festival, as well as the Pan-African Film Festival in Burkina Faso, and other festivals from Antalya to Zanzibar. 

Born in London, England, Bailey migrated first to Barbados then to Canada as a child. He studied English Literature at Western University and cinema at York University. He also holds an Honorary Degree from Humber College. In 2007, Bailey was a part of the delegation accompanying Canadian Governor-General Michaelle Jean on her State Visit to Brazil, where he led a discussion on transnational cinema. He has been a guest speaker at several Canadian universities, the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University and the Banff Centre for the Arts. In 2011, he gave the annual William Kilbourn Memorial Lecture at the Heritage Toronto Awards. 

Bailey sits on the board of Tourism Toronto and is a former board member of the Ontario Film Development Corporation and the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum. In 2010-2011, he was co-chair of the Arts & Culture Working Group of Toronto's CivicAction. He was also a member of the Creative Capital group that prepared a Mayor's Report on Toronto's cultural sector. 

Bailey resides in Toronto with his wife and son.



Michelle Banik is an accomplished global Human Resources executive. With more than 25 years of diverse business experience gained across a technology services start-up, a publicly traded financial services organization and one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans, Michelle brings a career focus to establishing people strategies that move organizations forward during periods of growth, or cultural & business transformation. As a global C-Suite executive, Michelle has been a culture carrier, a trusted strategic partner to the CEO and C-Suite, and a thoughtful advisor to the Board of Directors. 

Most recently, Michelle was the Chief People Officer at OMERS. During her 9-year tenure with the organization (2010 to 2019), Michelle successfully delivered a number of key initiatives, driving the People & Culture agenda forward during a significant period of global growth - in assets under management ($65B to $100B), and through international expansion with offices in Singapore, Sydney, Paris, Berlin, Boston, and San Francisco, complementing existing Toronto, New York and London, UK footprints. With a focus on value creation and delivery with excellence Michelle and her global team of 75 professionals delivered on OMERS People & Culture Strategy across all Investment and Corporate teams. 

Michelle has a Bachelor of Arts from Western University, is a Chartered Director (C. Dir), and a Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE).  Michelle serves as a member of the Advisory Council at the School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities (SASAH) at Western University and on the National Board of Directors and HRCC for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. 


owenOwen Charters is the president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada.  Through ninety-five clubs across the country, Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada provides a safe, supportive place where children and youth can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships, and develop confidence and skills for life. 

Over his career, Owen has worked with many non-profit organizations, including the YM-YWCA, Easter Seals, Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre Foundation, CanadaHelps, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.  In executive leadership roles, he has focused on marketing and fundraising to help organizations raise their profile and grow their impact, with a number of successful and high-profile campaigns under his belt. 

A proponent of a strong, collective voice for the non-profit sector, Owen is currently chair of Imagine Canada. He is a frequent speaker on charitable and non-profit issues across Canada. 

He holds a BA from the University of Western Ontario, and an MBA and a Graduate Diploma in Nonprofit Management, both from the Schulich School of Business, York University, and is an adjunct member of York’s faculty, lecturing at the MBA-level on nonprofit management in Canada. 


Paul CrossdalePaul Crossdale is the President of benefitsConnect Inc. He graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Arts (English) in 1990. He is a thought leader and has over 25+ years experience in the benefit, retirement and workplace insurance solution marketplace. Former positions held within the insurance industry include Account Executive with London Life specializing in plan design and implementation of group and retirement programs. Previously, Paul was Director of Eastern Canada, Group Operations, with Great West Life, the largest group insurance carrier in Canada. Over the last 16 years, his passion has been forging a personalized employee benefit practice in the GTA.


David Cruickshank

David Cruickshank is a partner with Edge International who advises law and other professional services firms on practice management, leadership development and talent retention strategies. He works with professional development partners, departments and hiring partners to convert training to a strategic advantage of the firm. David creates customized programs on time management, delegation, feedback, leadership and legal project management skills.


A GaffneyAs Executive Director, Anita Gaffney, BA'90, EMBA'02, works alongside the Artistic Director in setting the strategic and operational direction for the Stratford Festival. With a budget of $70 million, the Festival earns 95% of its revenue through ticket sales as well as ancillary and fundraising activities, making it one of the most self-sufficient cultural organizations on the continent.

Ms Gaffney joined the Festival in 1991 as a Publicity Assistant, and over the past 29 years has held a variety of positions, including Director of Marketing during the theatre’s years of peak attendance. She designed the Festival’s customer relationship marketing system, which remains in use today and has been emulated by arts organizations around the world. In addition to her marketing expertise, Ms Gaffney is highly regarded for her skills in government relations, finance, change management and strategic planning, honed during her years as the Festival’s Administrative Director.

In 2014, she and Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino announced the ground-breaking Stratford Festival HD project. Over the next decade, the entire canon of Shakespeare’s plays will be filmed, creating a unique cinematic library of Festival productions that will be broadcast worldwide and will serve as an invaluable educational tool for generations to come.

Her efforts to expand the reach of the Festival into the digital world also include supporting the production of previous films, Caesar and Cleopatra, The Tempest and Twelfth Night, overseeing the renewal of the Festival’s website, the launch of mobile applications and the expansion of the Festival’s overall digital presence.

An active member of the Stratford community, Ms Gaffney serves on the Board of the City of Stratford’s economic development agency and is a committee member of the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership. She is the Past Chair of the Stratford Public Library, and in 2011 she served as the Campaign Chair of the United Way Perth-Huron, raising $1.2 million.

In 2008 Ms Gaffney was selected to participate in the Governor General’s Leadership Conference, and in 2006 she received a Business Excellence Award for Personal Achievement from the Stratford and District Chamber of Commerce.

She has a BA in English from Western University, and MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business and has continued her executive education through Harvard Business School. She resides in Stratford with her husband, Kevin.


keithAs Director of Operations and Research for TakingItGlobal, Sean Keith, BA' has managed a portfolio of projects in the social media arena developing research insights through dialogue with a global network of more than 450,000 young people. Leveraging both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, the development and implementation of large-scale U&A and tracking research efforts have focused on quantifying impacts across a portfolio of initiatives, from political advocacy and education to social innovation projects. Internally, Sean has driven the development of custom project planning, tracking, and dashboarding tools to simplify and automate reporting practices. 

His research has been accepted and presented at the Digital Media Learning conference (2011) and published internally and in peer-reviewed academic literature. As a facilitator, Sean has worked with a range of executive-level clients, from Wall Street (Coburn Ventures) and marketing research (Hotspex) to non-profit sectors (TIG). Participating as a moderator (DML Conference) and invited panelist (UN-ILO, UNICEF-NCD Child), Sean has been involved in enabling inter-generational dialogue globally.

As Chair of the Toronto Chapter of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers community, he has been recognized internationally as a leader helping to empower young people to work collaboratively, share insights and mobilize resources to drive municipal-level civic engagement initiatives. Previously, Sean has worked in market research, studying relations between emotions, values and consumer behaviour building on his graduate research in Emotion Theory and Philosophy of Mathematics at Western University.



lennonMadeline Lennon is an art historian, educator, and curator. She earned her MA and PhD in Art History at the University of Toronto, with studies at the Sorbonne and Ecole du Louvre in Paris. Her first appointment at Western University was in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in 1984, where she founded and coordinated the Western Literature and Civilization program, now Comparative Literature and Culture. In 1991 she joined the Visual Arts Department, where she served as Chair and Graduate Chair. Retired in 2008, she is Professor Emerita. Professor Lennon is the recipient of two major teaching awards, was regularly cited by the University Students Council on its Teaching Honour Roll, and by the YMCA as a Distinguished Woman of the Year. 

Parallel to her teaching in art history and museum studies, Madeline has worked with contemporary artists, curating exhibitions at Museum London and the McIntosh Gallery, and has produced a number of catalogue essays. She collaborated with Greg Curnoe and Jake Moore for a special exhibition exploring the relationship between an artist and patron, and more recently has written on the work of Brian Saby, Wyn Geleynse and Thelma Rosner. Madeline has a special interest in women artists’ production, reflected in her writing on the work of Rosner, Shelley Niro and Jamelie Hassan. Her experiences with curating resulted in presentations at national conferences and international workshops concerned with contemporary developments in curation and the history of collecting and connoisseurship. She served as Chair of the McIntosh Gallery Committee (2008-2010) and as a member of the Gallery’s Acquisitions Committee. 

Lennon’s work in the community includes serving as the Chair of the Board of the London Heritage Council (2010-2013) and as a current member of the Granting Committee of the London Community Foundation. She continues to be active at Western as a Teaching Fellow in the Teaching Support Centre, coordinating the mentoring program for new faculty.


masonAs Senior Vice President and Head, Private Banking Canada, Kim leads a team of 4,000 employees in providing financial advice and services to RBC’s personal, small business and commercial clients in Greater Toronto.

Since joining RBC in 1986, Kim has held a wide variety of increasingly responsible regional and national office positions, including roles in Retail and Commercial Banking, Global Payments and Trade, and executive responsibilities in Contact Centres and Retail Banking. Prior to assuming her current role in 2014, she was Regional President, Atlantic Provinces.

Kim completed her MBA in 2004 at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Prior to her graduate studies, she received her Honours BA from the University of Western Ontario. She is also a graduate of Rotman’s “Judy Project” and the Directors Education Program of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). During her career at RBC, Kim has been recognized as a Top 50 Atlantic CEO for 2012, 2013 and 2014, was named one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence for 2013 by Women of Influence Magazine, and was most recently named one of WXN Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women for 2014.

A believer in community, Kim co-chaired the United Way of Metro Halifax’s 2012-13 campaign and served on the board of directors for Mount Saint Vincent University and the Greater Halifax Partnership. She has held both director and chair roles on hospital and health care boards for more than 14 years, and currently sits on the Women’s College Hospital Board. Kim is also a Director on the Toronto Region Board of Trade, and a member of the International Women’s Forum and Young President’s Organization.

Kim currently resides in Oakville, Ontario with her husband and three children.


pattersonRobert Paterson brings more than 25 years of relevant financial services industry experience to his role as President and CEO of Alterna Savings and Alterna Bank. He has extensive leadership and consulting experience within the financial services industry and has led transformative business strategies at institutions such as CIBC, JP Morgan Chase, McKinsey & Co and Aon. Mr. Paterson has pioneered leading advances in financial services such as automated credit decision, home equity financing and retail alliances. Mr. Paterson obtained his B.A. from the University of Western Ontario and is currently Director and Vice Chairman of Enactus, Director of Central 1 Credit Union, Director of Ficanex Canada and Director of Alterna Bank.


Sarah picWith the rise of the innovation economy, algorithms and data-driven approaches are shaping our lives today and far into the future.  Dr. Sarah Saska works to guide innovation (and the disruption that comes with them) to ensure that we build a future that benefits everyone, and brings everyone forward.  

While pursuing her Ph.D. at Western University, Sarah developed research on the importance of diversity in innovation.  Realizing the importance of her research, Sarah became a fellow at MaRS Discovery District to gain the support she needed to translate her research into practice.  Now, as the Co-Founder and CEO of Feminuity, Sarah is an internationally experienced diversity, inclusion, and belonging executive.  Sarah and her team partner with innovative companies around the world to help them embrace diversity and inclusion strategies to design better products, processes, and services and to build company cultures where people feel they belong.  

Sarah is a member of the Advisory Council for The MATCH International Women's Fund and Pique Fund II, she sits on the Board of Directors for Wen-Do Women's Self Defence, and she is a mentor with MentorU.  Sarah has been twice named amongst the Women’s Executive Network’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada (2015 and 2017).  

Sarah speaks internationally about the future of technology and its impact on people and has delivered a TEDx talk.  Sarah has been featured in Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Financial Post, and New York Times.  She lives in Toronto with her dog, Gordon.


David SimmondsDavid Simmonds is a Senior Adviser at the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation. He brings deep experience with reputation, brand strategy, financial communications and corporate affairs across regulatory environments with advisory experience to senior leaders in a variety of sectors. 

Most recently, David was Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs for McKesson Canada. A member of the company’s executive leadership team, David was responsible for internal communications, external affairs, media relations, government relations, corporate and event marketing, corporate social responsibility and strategic partnerships for McKesson’s business units in Canada.

Prior to leading Communications and Public Affairs, David served as Global Vice President Enterprise Strategy and Chief of Staff to McKesson Corporation’s Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. In this role he led a team responsible for designing the company’s multi-year growth strategy across Canadian, U.S., and European operations. 

David is a member of Western University’s Board of Governors; Director and President Elect of the Canadian Club of Toronto; and, an Advisory Board Member of Catalyst Canada. His earlier board work includes six years with Casey House, Canada’s leading HIV Specialty Hospital and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

A graduate of Western University, David holds an Honours BA, MA, and completed the executive development program at the Wharton School.

A sought-after speaker his commentary can be found in national media including the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and CBC News. In 2015 the Diversity Advancement Network named David one of Canada’s Top 100 Black Canadians.


francyneFrancyn Stuckey is a Managing Director and Global head of Strategic Solution Delivery for Global Transaction Services (GTS) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Creating the team in Europe in late 2010 before expanding it to Asia, North and Latin America, she is responsible for developing end-to-end client solutions.  Stuckey is also responsible for knowledge development and communication internally utilizing engaging newsletter and email channels. 

Stuckey is a respected market commentator and helped lead GTS’ market response to the euro crisis, co-authoring the Eurozone storm: six lifesaving steps.  She continues to guide client and market messaging on Risk Management.  In 2010 she coined the term ‘Straight Through Reconciliation’ (STR), since adopted by the industry when referring to reconciliation efficiency in treasury. 

Stuckey has 15 years financial experience.  She is also a 20+ year veteran in marketing and strategy, starting her career at Bell Canada where her last role was to extend the telecom’s information marketing strategy regionally, in North America, and in Europe. 

In addition to this, she is a passionate supporter of corporate responsibility and the community through arts programs and school mentoring, as well as a number of local and national charities in the UK.  As a member of the Senior Women’s Council and Creating the Edge VP development programmes, Stuckey actively promotes diversity in the workplace. 

Stuckey has an Arts honours degree from Western Ontario and also holds certification in International marketing and project management. 

She lives in the United Kingdom in London.